Sam Rayburn Reservoir Gets Hit With A Killer Weed

Categories: Environment, Texas
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A little over 10 years ago, we wrote about a "Killer Weed" that had been mistakenly introduced to some Texas lakes and was quickly covering them with a thick blanket of vegetation.

Salvinia molesta, also known as Giant Salvinia, reproduces itself faster than the Octomom and is a dire threat to freshwater plants and organisms that need sunlight.

The weed was first found at a Houston elementary school's pond, of all places. Texas Parks & Wildlife officials told us of how a bit of the weed, transported on, say, a Jet-Ski that was trucked from one lake to another, could bring the pain-in-the-ass vegetation to a previously clean waterway.

They especially worried about Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Surprisingly, a decade or so went by without any outbreak, but the good luck has ended, TPWD announced today.

Over 100 acres of giant salvinia was found in the Angelina River north of Sam Rayburn Reservoir on Tuesday, October 13, 2009. Acting with the help of a waterfowl hunter, TPWD personnel investigated and identified the plants in a backwater area called Estes Lake approximately 10 miles upstream from Marion Ferry and Kingtown, in Nacogdoches County.

An annual vegetation survey conducted by airplane last month did not detect the infestation since the survey does not include the Angelina River above Kingtown. The infestation had apparently been contained by shallow water and dense brush perhaps for a year or more. Low water levels help contain the infestation but recent rains may force the infestation south towards the main portion of the reservoir.
Other, much smaller outbreaks have been found over the years, but officials were able to get them cleaned up before the salvinia had spread too far. A hundred acres, though, is a tougher nut to crack.

TPWD says 11 Texas lakes have now been infested with the weed.

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